There are two happy birds in the tree,
There are two happy stars in the sky,
There are two happy waves in the sea,
There are two happy clouds drifting by,
There are two happy mortals, since we
Are together, just you dear, and I.
A Little Song
A RIPPLE and a rush, and a mating thrash,
And, oh ! the month must be at May.
A blossom and a tree, and a honey-bee,
And, oh ! it's such a perfect day !
A meeting and a smile, and a sunlit mile.
And, oh ! the world is very young.
Come winter, storm or cold.
Love never can grow old.
And oh ! my little song is sung !
Lime-trees meeting overhead,
Many lovers cold and dead.
Kissed and loved, and kissed again,
In the sunshine and the rain.
Underneath your scented green.
When we two, in Earth's kind breast,
Fall a-sleeping with the rest.
Then to us, who loved our fill,
Sweet to know you whisper still,
Happy leaves—of all that's been !
The Road To Colla
The blossoms of a Judas tree
Deep pink against an azure sea,
A silver moth on thoughtless vving,
A hidden bird that hghts to sing,
A little cloud that wanders by.
Across the endless field of sky.
A city in the far away,
Upon the hills beyond the bay,
And over all, the sun divine.
Pouring his stream of burning wine
Like nectar strong with youth and mirth,
Into this goblet of the earth !
The Ledbury Road
The road that leads to Ledbury
Oh ! it be such a pretty way.
As far as Wales you'll likely see.
Suppose the month be May.
The little birds they sing and sing,
The blackbirds and the thrushes do,
And after rain in early Spring
The grass looks green and new.
I wish that I were walking there,
Along that road so still and wide,
A lad without a thought or care.
My true-love at my side !
Dear, perchance 'neath the frost and snow-
One little golden flower is sleeping,
You shall find it, for you will know-
Whither at dawn the sun goes peeping.
Come then sweetheart, we two will go
Hand in hand, and a truce to weeping,
If, in spite of the winter's woe,
Safe in Nature's maternal keeping
Under the frost rime and under the snow,
One little primrose is daintily sleeping.
A Winter Song
' Swift away, swift away,'
Sang the fickle swallow,
Oh ! the fickle swallow,
Flying to the sun !
'Come, my little brothers,
Bring your feathered mothers,
Come away, come away.
Each and every one.'
'Only stay, only stay,'
Sang the lonely poet.
Oh ! the lonely poet,
All among the snow !
Robin Redbreast heard, and said,
'I am here though summer's dead ;
Cheer up, cheer up,
I will never go!'
The sun has set; Beloved see that star,
Wan with desire, pale in the afterglow,
Above the hill top hanging very low,
As though she stooped from her high regions far
To kiss this earth, because she loved it so !
While I, I feel the trembling touch of you,
Feel the dim magic of your eyes on me,
As though two stars had fallen in the sea,
And drowned themselves in his rejoicing blue,
Lighting his soul through all eternity !
The Lost Word
High above a waveless sea,
On the hills of long ago.
There you lived awhile with me.
And we loved—I know.
For your hair I made a crown,
Twined it with these hands of mine,
Sun-warmed leaves and tendrils brown,
From the happy vine.
You were like some woodland thing,
Fear and rapture in your eyes,
Tender as a breath of Spring
Blown from April skies.
Then I called you, and you heard.
To your lover's arms you came :
Ah ! what was that magic word.
Your forgotten name !
On The Sea-Shore
Can nothing last?
No deep, intense emotion?
Have all things passed,
Can nothing last?
'Yes,' sighs the wind,
' My passion for the Ocean
Must always last.'
Is nothing True?
No words of protestation?
Love cries anew
' Is nothing True?'
'Yes,' sobs the sea,
' My endless adoration
For yonder rock is true !
'Will nothing stand
Against the stress of weather?
Storms sweep the land,
Will nothing stand ?
'Yes,' says the rock,
' For God and I together,
We two will stand.'
By The River
Through the rustling river grasses
Warm and sweet the young wind passes.
Blowing shyly soft caresses
To their dewy emerald tresses.
All along the silver sands
Little ripples joining hands,
Dance a quaint fantastic measure.
Making liquid sounds of pleasure.
While away beyond the weir
Calls the cuckoo loud and clear,
Something mystic and remote,
Ringing in his fairy note.
How I wish that I were small,
Swinging on the rushes tall,
Just a humble happy thing.
Born to hve a while in Spring !
The Thrush's Song
' Oh ! bother,' sang the thrush,
'I'm in an awful rush,
For I've got to get ready for the Spring.
With feathers from my breast,
I'll line a cosy nest,
A terribly difficult thing !
'Before it is too late,
I'll have to find a mate,
And she must be dainty and small.
Obedient and sweet.
In jacket brown and neat,
And ready to come when I call.
' The robins are all wed
(Or so I've heard it said).
And the wind from the South it does blow.
The ice has felt the sun.
And winter must be done,
For a primrose is growing in the snow !'
Autumn In Sussex
A GLORY is this autumn day.
That stretches far across the land,
To where the sea along the sand
Sings kindly, with a gentle lay
Upon its lips. The gleam and sway
Of burning leaves ignites the air
To strange soft fire ; serene and bare
The wide fields lie on either hand.
More lovely than the timid Spring
Who tells her beads of humble flowers,
More perfect than the sun-warmed hours
Of summer, gay with birds that sing.
Is this fulfilment earth doth bring
To offer up to God ; this deep
Vast prayer before the winter sleep.
This final tribute to His powers !
Willow wand, willow wand,
Change this little slender frond
To a Princess tall and fair.
With a mass of golden hair.
Of golden hair.
Willow wand, willow wand.
Change this shallow meadow pond
To a deep and crystal pool.
Where she bathes at even cool.
At even cool.
Wand cut from the willow tree.
Build a fairy home for me,
Build a home of light and shade,
Sun and shadow deftly made.
Most deftly made.
There where nothing comes to part,
With the ladye of my heart
I will dwell for ever—ever ;
We will quarrel never—never.
Oh ! never—never !
Out At Sea
The sea was witness of the words you said :
She hushed her every tide that she might hear
Your whispered love, and while you bent so near
My bosom, laying down your weary head
To rest thereon—the corals in their bed
Stirred with emotion, shaken as with fear,
And foam grew paler, passionately drear
As some wan smile, upon a face that 's dead.
I took your hand in mine, your living hand !
And pressed it closer, closer in mine own.
A nameless terror shocked me while I scanned
Your ardent face ; there rose a stifled moan
To part my lips; I saw the future stand
Before me, and behold! I was alone.
A drop of dew that on a rose-bud clings,
A ray of sunshine in a world of Springs,
A bird, who singing from some hidden tree,
Is bathed in streams of endless melody,
An open flower you trod on as you passed,
The purple shadow that your passing cast,
A breath of wind that lingered on your brow,
An emerald leaf fresh shaken from the bough,
A smile of hope on lips that you delight,
A grateful word from one whom you requite
For some small service, or a little sigh
That fans your senses as it flutters by,
These things to you how much they mean!
While I?. . . . . . . . .
Without what desolation! mist and rain,
And weeping trees, and roses that decay
While still in blossom, till the autumn day
Lies low, and speechless, and benumbed with pain.
An early twilight hyies the gentle plain
With mournful dusk, while meadows melt away
Like echoes of those tunes we used to play,
Ere time had turned them to a lost refrain.
But leave the window, turn towards the room,
So soft with firelight on the time-worn beams
A friendly spirit lurks within the gloom
Of dim oak corners, while a host of gleams
Await your fingers on our fancy's loom,
To weave them into happy fireside dreams.
Dawn Among The Olive Groves
Along the hills the olives grow.
And almonds bloom in early Spring,
And many are the streams that flow,
And countless are the birds that sing ;
The air is cool with distant snow,
And musical with bells that ring.
Beneath my feet the road winds down
In deepening shadow, far away
To where a little peaceful town
Lies sleeping by the quiet bay ;
A distant sail, now white, now brown,
Shows phantomlike against the day.
While gradually the Eastern skies
Grow flushed and bright, the late stars flee.
And eager clouds appear, and rise
Above the waves expectantly ;
Till lo ! before my wondering eyes.
The great sun steps from out the sea !
The Song Of The Watcher
At the early break of day,
When the river mists grow pink.
And the moon begins to sink,
Down along the southern way ;
When the gold mimosa tree
Rustles low and pleasantly.
To the little singing bird
That within her heart has stirred ;
I, the watcher at the window,
Thank the gods who made dawn lovely,
By creating you for me !
When the stately night steps down.
Silent footed, from the west,
With the moon against her breast
Folded in her cloudy gown ;
When the endless, sighing sea
Stretches to eternity.
Yearning for the pale-eyed star,
Long beloved, and yet so far ;
I, the watcher at the window,
Thank the gods who made night lovely,
By creating you for me !
It is the dawn, that wondrous fateful hour
Of strange desires, of thoughts and deeds that stir
Within the womb of possibihty.
A wind new-wakened combs the silken sea.
Lifting the foam hke some unearthlj' flower.
The Hghts still glimmer all along the quay :
And overhead a flight of hurried stars
Seek hiding swiftly, e'er the day shall be.
Ships pass like spectres, little white-sailed ships.
Gliding away towards their destiny.
The earth, expectant, seems to thrill and wait
For some loved being ; through the eastern gate
Red clouds come floating. Oh ! that I were day.
Resplendent, bountiful, a heaven-born fire.
Filled with the glory of my own desire,
And thou, the trembling earth awaiting me !
On The Road To Tennaley Town
Over the hills to Tennaley Town,
When the leaves are red, and the leaves are brown,
Under a limpid sky!
Oh ! it 's good to be young to-day,
Strong, and young, on this lonely way,
Happy my thoughts and I !
Far below where the mists are blue
Runs the river, and damp with dew
Glimmers the golden corn,
Crickets sing in the wayside grass,
Beetles drone, as I pause and pass
On thro' the Autumn morn.
' Winter's coming,' the winds have said,
Shall I weep for a time that 's dead?
Foolish to weep, not I !
Over the hills near Tennaley Town,
When the leaves are red, and the leaves are brown,
I'm here, alive, walking swiftly down,
Then what matters the by and bye !
Sweet are the silent places of the earth,
Green heart of woods through which no wind doth pass,
Long sloping meadows sown with silken grass,
Old gardens thick with scents of death, and birth.
Pale dome of morning, ere the first bird sings.
Stretching above the silent palisade,
Vague and unearthly, wrought of light and shade.
O'er which the dusk still hangs with starht wings.
The hush of mid-day in the languid south.
Where marble borders rim the limpid pools.
In whose blue depths the ardent noontide cools
Her burning limbs, and bathes her sun-kissed mouth.
And above all things, silent and at rest,
I mind me of a little quiet bay,
Set like a sapphire in the golden day.
With never ship to scourge its tranquil breast.
Oh ! happy waters of that quiet bay.
So near my heart—and yet so far away !
The Cloud And The Mountain
A little white Cloud loved the Mountain,
She hung in the sky all day,
And gazed with rather a timid smile
To where, beneath her full many a mile,
The earth and the loved one lay.
The Mountain was silent and lonely,
And grim in the light of dawn,
And ever and aye he cast his eyes
In longing hope to the distant skies
Where little white clouds are born.
Till a breeze in the evening passing
Took pity upon her vow,
And very tenderly lifted down
The virgin Cloud, till her fleecy crown
Was set on the Mountain's brow.
And they loved with a silent ardour
So great that she soon was slain,
And drop by drop from her tender breast
The life-blood flowed o'er his rock-bound crest,
And fell to the earth in rain.
But she left him to keep for ever,
As solace in endless woe
Her soul, and now through the changing years,
Come shine, come shade, or come smiles, or tears,
It lies on his breast as snow.
The Long Green Lanes Of England
Oh ! the long green lanes of England !
They be very far away,
And it's there that I'd be walking,
'Mid the hawthorn and the may.
Where the trees are all in blossom,
And the mating birds they sing
Fit to bust their little bodies.
Out of joy because it's Spring.
I'd be courting of my true love,
She'd be in her Sunday best.
With my arm around hei shoulder
And her head upon my breast.
For the new land it's a fine land,
Where a man can get a start ;
But there's that about the old land
That will grip his very heart :
For he'll mind him o' the cowslips.
Coming up all fresh and new
In the fields of early mornings,
Where the grass is white with dew.
Oh ! it's money, money, money,
' Go and try to earn a bit ;'
And ' America's the country
For the lad as doesn't quit.'
Seems that folks go mad on money.
Well, I'll have enough some day,
But the long green lanes of England
They be Oh ! so far away !
Beneath the lime trees in the garden
High above the town,
The scent of whose suspended bloom
Entranced the air with warm perfume
I stood, and watched the river flowing,
Flowing smooth and brown.
The heat of all the summer sunshine
Centred in the skies,
Beneath its spell the city's towers
Grew dreamy, and the climbing flowers
Upon the balconies hung limply
Down, with closing eyes.
Some drowsy pigeons cooed together
On the nearer eaves,
Gnats danced, and one big foolish bee
Grown honey-drunk, bumped into me,
And ere he buzzed a lazy protest
Fell amid the leaves.
A bell began to chime, I watched it
Swinging to and fro,
It made a solemn, pious sound,
While flippant swallows, darting round
To peer within the ancient belfrey
Soared now high, now low.
Time passed, and still I stayed to ponder
Through the afternoon,
Within my brain the golden haze
Wrought magic musings, and my gaze
Bent inward could behold no image
Save the form of June.
North And South
Come with me, sweetheart, into Italy,
And press the burning goblet of the south
To those cold northern lips, until thy mouth
Relents beneath its draft of ecstasy.
Drink in the sun, made liquid in the breasts
Of purple grapes crushed lifeless for thy wine,
Until those over tranquil eyes of thine
Glow like twin lakes, on which the noontide rests.
Drink in the airs, those languid, vapoury sighs
Of Goddesses, whose souls live on in love,
Those amorous zephyrs, soft with plaint of dove
From flowery trees of Pagan Paradise :
Until thy brain grows hazy 'neath the fumes
Of pale camellias, passionately white,
Of scarlet roses dropping with delight
Their wanton petals in a shower of bloom.
Drink in the music of some ardent song,
Poured forth to die upon the wide, still lake,
Until the darkness seems to throb and break
In fiery stars whose pulses yearn and long.
And then drink in my love; the whole of me,
In one deep breath, one vast impassioned kiss,
That come what may, thou canst remember this :
That thou hast lived and loved in Italy.
If I should pray, my prayer would be
For gratitude unlimited :
For gratitude so vast and deep,
That it would move my soul to weep
Great tears, and all the words I said
To be as organ notes sublime,
FuU-throati d flowing words of rhyme,
Whose like no mortal eye hath read.
Then would I kneel before the God
Whose matchless genius made the earth ;
The Poet-God, who sows the hours
With all the scented hosts of flowers.
Who gives the little winds their birth,
Who doth unloose the sea-song's might
To shake the very stars at night.
And fling the foam-flakes high in mirth.
Whose mind is fragrant as a grove
Of cedar trees in summer rain,
Whose thoughts dead poets gathered up,
And poured within the brimming cup
They offered to the world in vain.
Whose whisper masters caught, and wrote
Into their music note by note,
Immortal, haunting, strain on strain.
Whose image is revealed to all
Great lovers in the loved one's face.
Whose passion mystical and deep
Kindles the holy fires that sleep
Within the heart's most secret place.
Whose breath is incense on the shrine
Of earthly love, burning divine
And changeless, through all time and space !
On The Potomac River U.S.A.
At close of June's most burning day,
We took a ship and sailed away :
In mid-Potomac stream sailed we.
To Old Point Comfort by the sea.
The heavy hanging air of dusk
Was thick with scent of fainting musk.
And through the tired willow trees
Stirred never sound or breath of breeze.
So still it was, that from afar
We seemed to hear a falling star,
And every drop we heard, that dript
From off the paddle as it dipped.
The fireflies lit their yellow lamps.
And danced along the marshy damps ;
They skimmed and shot, and skimmed again.
While beetles droned a dance-refrain.
The old ship pushed the mists apart,
And crawled along with throbbing heart,
Pausing from time to time for breath
Beside some jetty, still as death.
The moon rose up all reddish gold.
And lit the swirhng misty fold
Of fog along the river bank,
Where grew the creepers dark and rank.
Sometimes the lonely 'look-out' cried
'All's well': the water swished and sighed
An endless and protesting song,
As stealthily we crept along.
Until at last the wind blew free.
Where the Potomac met the sea ;
And not so very far away
The shores of Old Point Comfort lay.
The Two Angels
Once Youth and Innocence, side by side,
With flaming swords at a garden gate
Stood forth in silence, to watch and wait,
Lest lust and evil their might defied.
Love's rarest fruits in that garden grew,
And lo ! a Pilgrim of pain and sin
Grown tired, would gladly have entered in,
And washed his soul in the gleaming dew.
He looked at Youth, and the Angel said :
' Behold me young, and behold me weak :
If you but crush me, the joy you seek
Shall quench desire on a rose-strewn bed,
'Yet oh! I pray you another hour,
For should you enter this Holy place,
My soul is given again to space,
And I must die as a blighted flower.'
Then all the sorrow and all the shame,
That life had taught him to understand,
Rose up, and fettered the Pilgrim's hand,
And murmur'd: 'Youth is a sacred name.'
He looked at Innocence, nude and white,
And all unconscious she met his gaze;
Her eyes were soft as an evening haze,
Her red lips fashioned to give delight.
She sighed,'I know not the boon you ask,
But Nature sent me to guard the way
That leads to realms of Eternal day;
I may not shrink from the Mother's task.
'Yet these fair limbs that are pure as snow,
Should you but sully by thought or deed
Must droop and fade as a broken reed,
That every wind of the earth may blow.'
Then all the goodness that he had missed,
Each dream of sweetness that passed him by,
Rose up, and cried: 'Thou shalt still deny
Thyself'—and Innocence stood unkissed.
The heat of the mid-day has smitten the forest-land dumb !
The mountains are closing their eyes in a languorous dream,
The boulders stand stark, where the torrents once hastened to come,
For Earth in her passion is wholly consuming their stream.
The ardour and terror of living is rife in the air,
The air that is breathless, and stranger to motion or sound,
A rapture so potent it seems near akin to despair
Is drawing the life-blood in mist, from the sunravished ground.
And out thro' this region grown tense with creation's desire,
Inconsequent, fragile as thistledown wafted by breeze,
Two butterflies flutter, like snow-flakes that fall upon fire,
Far into the flame-land, that stretches away from the trees.
White butterflies, innocent-looking and soft as a sigh,
In quest of what blossoms, what mystical pleasures, who knows?
Close one to the other they hover now low and now high,
Like thoughts that are breathed from the heart of an opening rose.
Vague spirits that drift o'er the infinite tide of the earth,
As jewels of foam, on the passion-torn breast of the sea,
They know not the hour of their ending, the cause of their birth,
A moment of time or a year, they rejoice but to be !
Around them the problem of life, with its pain and its joy,
Impregnates the noon with a sense of some marvellous power,
Above them, grown potent with strength to create or destroy,
The shafts of the sun, that have smitten and withered the flower.
And still with frail bodies unmoved by the vastness of things
These fairy white butterflies flutter like spirits of light,
They pause for an instant, then spreading their tremulous wings,
Fly into the infinite, fading away from my sight.
The Quest Of The White Heather
I sought at dawn for the sweet white heather,
In hiding among the blue,
The earth was warm with the summer weather,
The flowers still damp with dew.
I moved a stone with my foot in walking,
A lizard ran out in fear,
Two tiny streams to each other talking
Complained that I came so near.
And all alone on the side of the mountain
I spoke to the new-born Day,
Oh ! help me to gather some rare white heather
Sweet Morning, show me the way !
A big stag beetle crawled close in wonder,
A grasshopper chirped of rain,
A bee just pushing some flowers asunder
Buzzed loud in his vast disdain.
The pines swayed gently, as though with laughter,
They knew what I came to seek !
A thistledown that the breeze ran after
Brushed lightly against my cheek.
And all alone on the side of the mountain
I spoke to the new born Day,
Oh ! help me to gather some rare white heather,
Sweet Morning, show me the way!
A trout jumped high with a rainbow shudder,
To see how the mortals look,
Then swayed his tail like a silver rudder,
And swam away in the brook.
I think I heard all the Pixies saying
' No heather that 's white you'll find !
'I know I saw little Gnome-folk playing
Where shadowy boughs reclined—
And all alone on the side of the mountain
I spoke to the new born Day,
O help me to gather some rare white heather,
Sweet Morning, show me the way!
Alas ! alas ! for the fairy flower,
My feet grew weary in vain,
I sought for luck thro' each sunlit bower,
To find it truant again.
Then while I paused on the side of the mountain
The stillness was cleft apart,
And Morning cried ' He who seeks white heather
Must find it deep in his heart !'
In The Hardt Wald
A road disused these many years,
O'er which the grass has grown
Between two rows of silent pines,
That stretch in straight, unbroken lines
Away to plains unknown.
Long ruts that passing wagons made
In days whose records die
Form trenches for the frailer flowers,
That timid of more open bowers
Secure in hiding lie.
And in those deep impressions there,
Where patient beasts have trod,
With stems in dainty green array,
And faces turned to meet the day,
Grow sprays of golden-rod,
' Mid sunbeams slanting thro' the wood
The ardent Afternoon
Steals like a lover fond, and dumb,
Upon his mistress Earth, o'ercome
With many a tender boon ;
And that she sooner shall respond
To his awakening fires,
He summons from each fairy glade
Wee winged things, to serenade
This nymph of his desires.
So full of mystic power and life
Is this forgotten place
That I may scarcely dare intrude
My presence and my lighter mood,
Lest stepping I deface
Some masterpiece of moss or bloom,
That Dryad hands have wrought,
Perchance my very humanness
May make this potent charm the less,
That solitude has taught.
I fear to tread upon a branch,
For if beneath my feet
It breaks 'twould thus affright the bird
Whose tender music I have heard
In yonder green retreat;
And who am I that I should dare
Gainsay the Noon's behest;
Or penetrate this peaceful sphere,
And bring an agony of fear
To some dumb creature's breast?
Within this forest night and day
An endless hymn of praise
From out the heart of Nature wells,
That once again perfection dwells
In her profaned ways,
That living green conceals the scars
Made by relentless man,
While in the deepest sylvan glades
Sound faint and far thro' emerald shades
The crystal pipes of Pan.
The All-Mother's Awakening
To-day the still, deep mind of the Earth
Has steeped in longing her wistful eyes,
A sense of wonder and glad surprise
Thrills thro' her heart with a thought of birth.
The grave All-Mother looks up and smiles,
Her breath comes balmy from sunlit mouth,
Her bosom bare to the ardent south
Is fanned by perfume from fruitful miles.
All winter long has the dear Earth slept
In drifts of snow, 'neath the bane of frost,
Her children sought for the Mother lost,
Yet found her not, and in anguish wept.
All winter long have my senses cried
For warmth of sun, and the blue of sky,
The hard north answered to mock my sigh,
And all the glory of life denied.
The cold mists drifting on land and sea,
Like ghosts of passions burnt out and chill,
Smote heart and soul with the fear of ill,
That cast its awfulness over me.
The dank gray sails, and the dank gray shore,
They melted each in the other's face,
With clammy kiss, in a wan embrace
That left them colder than e'en before.
And thro' the boughs of the moss-grown trees
The sap flowed sluggish, or not at all,
While here and there would a dead leaf fall,
Like thought of harrowing memories.
Then from the heart of the Universe
There rose a wail of unending woe,
An anguished prayer from the deeps below:
' Oh ! Mother, lift from our souls the curse!'
'Oh! Mother, quicken thy sacred womb,
With fire that throbs in the veins of Spring,
Behold the numbness of everything,
And only thou can avert the doom.'
' Oh ! Mother, hear us !' But silent still
The Earth slept on, as it were in death.
Her ice-bound bosom stirred not with breath,
So fast she lay 'neath the winter's will.
I joined my prayer to the wind and trees,
I joined my cry to the striving soil,
I said, 'Oh ! Mother, our endless toil
Has made us sicken with miseries.
' Rise up ! and help us again to live,
Rise up ! uncover thy fruitful breast,
We faint in winter's unrestful rest,
We burn with longings to love and give.'
And as I spoke came a voice more strong
Than all creation's, o'er land and sea
It called our Mother to ecstasy,
And lo ! she stirred, who had slept so long.
She stirred, she opened her drowsy eyes,
And bending down from the dome above,
Beheld the form of embodied Love,
As Spring stepped Earthward from Paradise.
Winter On The Zuyder Zee
The world has grown unreal to-day
Far out upon the Zuyder Zee !
We drift towards a mystic isle,
With scarce a breath of wind the while.
I hear the murmur of the tide,
I hear you breathing at my side,
Far out upon the Zuyder Zee.
The drearness of this inland sea!
Doomed thus to lie eternally
A fettered slave, grown old between
The dykes and marshes low and green,
Devoid of wind to stir the deep
Forgotten heart, so long asleep,
Oh! sorrow-ladened Zuyder Zee!
This awful hush engulfing things !
The noon-tide hangs with outspread wings
Above the ship, all motionless.
The penitential sails confess
Their sad inertness, damp and brown,
From silent masts they ripple down
Towards the lifeless Zuyder Zee.
I almost think that you and I
Are floating on a haze of sky,
This is an unknown sphere of dreams,
Or else some region where the beams
Of daylight that have died unblessed
By some kind thought stray seeking rest,
Along the wastes of Zuyder Zee.
How strange to know that youth is ours !
That do we choose a world of flowers
And sunlight waiting to our hand
Is calling for some gladder land,
So easy to attain, yet lo !
We drift amid the mist and woe
Of winter on the Zuyder Zee.
Is there a subtle charm, when sad
Despairing nature makes the glad
Rejoicing spirit pause to think,
Of those dim depths to which may sink
The soul immortal? Where the mind
May grow as sodden as a wind
That dies upon the Zuyder Zee?
When all our loving and our will
To love for ever can't fulfil
Love's promises for age and death?
That like a hushed, unwholesome breath,
From off the marshes in the night
Steals forth, and all our past delight
Is colder than the Zuyder Zee?
The very thought that death is near
Perchance makes life seem doubly dear,
And love more urgent, since they two
May some day fade away, and you
Become a spectral memory,
Devoid of joy ! and what of me
Oh! wise, world-weary Zuyder Zee?
Your endless depth of stark despair
But renders sunlit things more fair,
But makes the craving heart more strong
To grasp its pleasures, short or long,
While yet it is To-day, nor wait
Upon the will of doubtful fate,
Lest all emotion rendered numb
With long suppression should become
As you are, soulless Zuyder Zee !
An Autumn Ride
The world 's a beautiful world to-day,
A flame of gold and a dusk of gray,
Where Autumn leaves toss their gaudy crests
O'er still deep lanes, where the twilight rests.
Just overhead as I ride along
A hopeful thrush charms his thought to song,
And all that 's joyous within me springs
To meet the promise of which he sings.
Away to Heaven the melting view
Is soft with raptures of endless blue;
The trees and meadows, the hills and plains,
Like music woven of countless strains
Submerge, entwine, till the eye can see
No shade that is not a harmony.
As part of nature's most perfect whole
Each humble object conceives a soul,
No tiny flower in the distance lost,
But gives its colour, nor counts the cost ;
No drop of dew, but its feeble ray
An atom cast in the pearly gray
Is shining there, unperceived, content,
A dim star set in earth's firmament.
My horse treads gently, and makes scarce sound,
His hoofs sink deep in the marshy ground,
Yet 'neath the touch of my curbing rein
I feel the youth in his veins complain,
He lifts his head, and his eager eyes
Gaze far away where the moorland lies,
He whinnies often, as though to say
I would be free on this perfect day !
He too is filled with a happiness
His dumb soul treasures but can't express,
And in that gladness of wind and sun
I know my beast and myself are one.
The way is lonely, no passer by
Disturbs the stillness, my horse and l
Possess the earth, and the rippling air
Divine elixir to banish care
Has brought new strength to my heart and mind,
And swept all sorrowful things behind.
Oh ! Joy of living when youth is ours!
Oh ! Earth my Mother, thy fragrant bowers
Could they be fairer if Angels trod
Beneath their trees at the will of God?
Could fabled Heaven e'er compensate
For one such day, when the year is late,
And all the Summer has come to dwell
In long warm moments of dim farewell?
When skies are pale with the tears that bless
The soil, in falling for happiness?
And winds are fragrant with scent that flows
From out the bosom of some lone rose?
And brooks are drowsy with dusty gleams,
And languid thoughts of their winter dreams?
The fields are vital, and nude, and gray
With future promise of fruitful clay?
Ah ! no, my being could not believe,
My heart desire, nor my soul conceive,
A world more perfect, more dear, more true,
Than this fair Eden I'm riding through.
Crush these voluptuous grapes between your teeth,
Your small, strong teeth ! and let their purple pain
Be offered in a sacrificial rain
Of sun-warmed essence; while I twine a wreath
Of all their leaves, and place it just beneath
Your high-combed curls, to rest upon the plain
Of your white temples : though the Nymphs disdain
To grace our modern banquet, they bequeath
A sylvan fancy to my wayward dream.
This glint of candles on the silver round
Is yellow moonlight, mirrored in lone stream,
These flowers are springing from the sensuous ground,
And we are Dryads, 'tis a fitting theme
For you to sing; come—thrill the night with sound.
The shaded lamps that make the room seem dim
Scarcely revealing pictures on the wall;
Yet one so placed to let a halo fall
Upon your hair; you smile! yes, it's a whim
A Poet's fancy with a moonlit rim
Perhaps—and yet a harmless wish withal.
Don't quarrel with it, just sit there, those tall
White lilies make a background for your slim
Young body. Let the blinds be up, and night
Gaze through the windows with her purple eyes,
Dropping some ardent star from out its height
For very eagerness of glad surprise
At so much beauty, till your song's delight
Shall waft it back into the listening skies !
Where shall I find a corner in this room
Almost in darkness? Ah! that deep recess
Of languid cushions, eager to caress
My weary limbs ! from out its dreaming gloom
Made holy by the incense of perfume,
All unobserved and happy I'll confess
My senses to those roses, passionless,
And listening in their bowl of silver doom.
Sing, sing, sweet friend, but soft, though eagerly !
With tender pauses in between the notes
Filled up with little sighs, unconsciously—
These rose-dropped petals, they are fairy boats
Our souls may sail on lakes of melody
Adown whose ripples youth eternal floats.
Oh ! burning silence ! when the very air
Is warm with memories of sounds we love!
You cease to sing, yet from below, above,
Around me, in me, of me, everywhere,
That Music's spirit, tremulously fair
Flutters and flutters, like a wounded dove,
And cannot fly beyond this earthly groove !
Midway it pauses, hanging throbbing there.
I will not speak, lest it should seem profane
In such a presence; idle words of praise
Ye are but mortal sounds, with no refrain
That can endure beyond our passing days,
And so be silent ! silent with the pain
Of all deep feeling, that can find no phrase.
Kiss me good night, sweet minstrel, on the stairs !
I love your lips, they're neither pale nor red,
But like an after-glow, when day lies dead
Upon the mountains. Do they say soft prayers,
Those languid lips? to God, a God who cares,
And gathers such dear follies thread by thread
As each is woven in your mind, and shed
Like gold spun silk upon His field of tares?
You're silent! let it pass; who knows but you,
So strong in weakness, may compel God's ear
To listen for the smallest drop of dew
That all our thunders would disdain to hear :
And so, Sweet, if you pray, repeat anew
To God, that while you sang I wept a tear !
This morning while I light my cigarette
In this dim study with its endless view
Stretching away to hills whose eyes are blue
With secret thoughts, my thoughts are all regret,
Regret for broken interludes! and yet—
If it were otherwise, who knows but you
Might grow to pall, as things familiar do,
While now it seems worth while to not forget !
And so good-bye, my friend, drift out in smoke,
Vague, and intangible, a fleeting joy
That some stray match of fate in passing woke,
To burn awhile, like this small soothing toy
Between my lips: Time's galling iron yoke
Is not for us, we made and we'll destroy.
Ring on! Oh endless vesper bell!
What can you know of that deep Hell
Upon this Earth, where men may dwell.
Ring on ! Your calling is in vain,
What holy rite can lull the pain
Of mortal Sin's Immortal stain.
* * * *
It was the heavy hour of noon,
When Nature still as in a swoon
Reclines beneath the spell of June.
I left the Monastery gate,
And sought the forest shade, to wait
For even hour, and meditate.
Upon the beads hung from my side
A silver Christus crucified.
God mocked, and scourged, and denied !
My missal in my hand I took,
And read within the Holy Book
How vain the joys a monk forsook.
I thought of Heaven, and all therein
I hoped by penitence to win;
My heart was free from mortal sin.
When lo ! as of enchanted spheres
A languid music smote my ears,
With vast delight, and vaster fears.
It was as if all deadly wrong
Grown honied sweet in magic song
Caressed my senses, deep and long.
My eyes upon the missal bent
Sprang upward, and in ravishment
Beheld a gaze on me intent.
The figure of a tender maid,
Within the larches' trembling glade
Clothed in sunlight and in shade—
Was bending o'er me, and her breast
Full worthy of a King's behest
She offered, that my head might rest.
She was most pale, and frail, and white,
Like moonlit mist on Summer's night,
Like memory of wan delight.
And thro' the tendrils of her hair
There blew a breath of scented air,
Of all sweet things from everywhere.
A limpid magic were her eyes,
Two mountain lakes, where sunlight lies
Enamoured, and of passion dies.
From out her lips proceeded words
More soft than distant pipe of herds,
More tender than the song of birds.
I know not what the tongue she spake,
But all my senses leapt to ache
With longing, for her asking's sake.
As in a dream I rose and pressed
Her bending slimness to my breast:
With eager kiss my mouth caressed
The flaming redness of her own,
All else on earth had nothing grown,
Save that we two were there alone.
Within my ears the rush of streams,
My vision shot with lurid gleams,
My spirit bathed in burning dreams!
A vital fragrance round her clung,
As if from earth's deep veins was wrung
The sap of springs for ever young.
It turned my blood to living fire,
The universe immense, entire,
Was bound in me, and my desire.
No mortal man was I, while still
I kissed and wreaked my ardent will
Upon that form of tender ill.
She cast her magic over me,
Her spell of Immortality,
That lost my soul Eternity.
The sunlight faded, and the day
As one affrighted fled away,
Suddenly tremulous and gray.
An icy wind sprang up, and blew
A shuddering breath along the dew,
It chilled my body thro' and thro'.
I sought the shelter of her hair,
But lo ! my sinful breast was bare,
My arms outstretched to empty air.
I wept aloud, in anguish cried,
The echoes hastened to deride !
She came no longer to my side.
And in her stead, with agony
Of dumb regret, most bitterly
My soul came forth, and looked on me !
* * * *
Within the forest's depth a bird
Began to twitter, and I heard
Trees stirring at its tender word.
I woke as from a searing dream,
Beside my feet a little stream
Grew rosy with a sunset beam.
The earth gave forth her fragrant store;
Obedient to Eternal law,
All things were even as before,
All things save I, who moaned, and stood
A stranger, in the tranquil wood.
My spirit shrank away, nor could
Refresh itself at Nature's breast,
Its lips were burnt, denied, caressed
Of sin, unholy and unblessed !
I knew it then ! fulfilled desires
Are in themselves Hell's deepest fires,
And man when highest he aspires
The more may fall beneath his lust.
And yet, ah ! Heaven, the while I thrust
My sense in penitential dust
I knew that thro' my misery
A tremor stole persistently,
Of rapture at her memory.
Shall I confess with spirit bent
That hour of awful ravishment?
Dear God, but slwuld I not repent'?
'Twere better that we two should die
A thousand deaths, my soul and I,
Than live an everlasting lie !
Oh soul ! What would you have me say,
To Him whose hand shall never stay-
Its vengeance on this woeful day !
* * * *
Ring on ! oh endless vesper bell !
What can you know of that deep Hell
Upon this earth where men may dwell,
And God, does He know? Who can tell